Baseball Card Commandment #2

“Thou shall not make baseball cards from press conferences”

I know competition is fierce but sometimes it’s better to let the other company be first rather than put out a horrible product. Case in point, Topps with the very first Manny Ramirez card in a Dodgers uniform. It failed miserably.

Unless the player is a media whore like Curt Schilling for example, he is just going to look uncomfortable and out of place. Who knows what behind the scenes conflict the player is going through at the moment? Just wait till Spring Training and put out the best possible card rather than worry about being first.

This is a direct response to Upper Deck’s first Ken Griffey Jr./Mariners card that is being released in Hobby shops and in 2009 ‘A Piece of History’.

If anyone notices a Griffey Jr. press conference card missing, leave a comment.

Upper Deck welcomes back “The Kid”

The Upper Deck Company has released images of two short-print baseball cards being seeded into 2009 products which feature Ken Griffey Jr. in a Mariners uniform.

The caricature, created by Court Jones, will be available free with purchase of any product at participating Hobby shops shortly before Opening Day (April 6th, 2009).

The second features Ken Griffey Jr. at his press conference and will be available through Upper Deck’s ‘A Piece of History’, which hits shelves in early April.

Happy hunting!

Ken Griffey Jr. back in Seattle!

Once the game’s best player hands down, last year baseball fans witnessed the beginning of the end for Ken Griffey Jr.

The first thing to go was the nonstop smile, followed by his physique, until finally his numbers began to take a noticable tumble. In just under 500 at-bats, Griffey Jr. hit 18 home runs and his average dropped to .249 on the season while playing with the Reds and White Sox.

As of tonight, ESPN is reporting that Ken Griffey Jr. has shunned the Atlanta Braves for a chance to finish his illustrious career where it began, with the Seattle Mariners.

Clearly, this was the best move for the aging slugger as it’s clear from personally seeing his final games in the National League that he just can’t play outfield full time any more.

The day of Ken Griffey Jr. as a Designated Hitter might be upon us and depending on how things go it just might be the help he needs to reach 700 career home runs.

Wax Heaven Recommends…

I am not the most knowledgeable card blogger in the world (that would be Chris Harris) or even the most experienced but I believe that there is no one out in the blogosphere who spends more time looking through galleries, browsing the card forums, and doing his homework than yours truly.

Instead of the ‘Card of the Day’ feature that has been running for the past couple of months, I am going to mix it up by creating ‘Wax Heaven Recommends…’, a weekly column that will spotlight a card, set, or wax box that I recommend from my own experience of collecting.

Today, for the inaugural column I would like to set the focus on one of the all-time greats of the game, Ken Griffey Jr. Now, if you collect “The Kid” you probably already own  the ’89 Upper Deck, along with a few essential game-used relics and autographs. For the rest of us who appreciate what Griffey Jr. has brought to the game but don’t necessarily collect his cards, I would recommend a 1997 Bowman’s Best International Rainbow.

The 1997 Bowman Best design has been one of the least appreciated of the line and I can’t say I blame collectors. It’s definitely a little too futuristic and has way too much going on. Still, the International parallel version features a stunning photo of Griffey Jr. with his picture-perfect home run swing and the American flag in the background. Seriously, what more would you want?

There is the regular version, a Refractor, and an Atomic Refractor. That’s all there is, folks. No running around trying to find fifteen different versions plus printing plates. These three cards complete the set and if you know where to look will enter your collection for not much more than $15 dollars. Keep in mind these are not even close to first year cards, so don’t expect to cash in if and when Griffey Jr. retires after the 2009 season.

These cards are for the collector, not the investor.

I busted ’90 Fleer and all I got was

this awesome Ken Griffey Jr. insert!

Six months ago a reader by the name of Paul D. sent me a surprise box of 1990 Fleer Jumbo. As a kid, most of my collection consisted of ’90 & ’91 Fleer so as you can imagine I had a blast (link). Unfortunately, the most desired card in the set, a ‘Soaring Stars’ Ken Griffey Jr. insert was nowhere to be found.

On Christmas Eve, Paul D. sent me another package of goodies and inside was a second box of 1990 Fleer. This time around I got lucky and not only pulled the Ken Griffey Jr. but I got almost the entire set of Soaring Stars. Now, to most collectors a cheesy card like this will mean absolutely nothing but to someone who had 0% chance of owning one of these in the early-90’s, I am thrilled.

Ken Griffey Jr. was the guy(along with Frank Thomas) who took Jose Canseco’s crown as best player in baseball in the mid-90’s so I have always carried a secret resentment towards him but today can appreciate the fact that he’s played two decades without any accusations that others have not been able to duck. If he hadn’t been so injury-prone we’d most likely be looking at the first player with 800 career home runs.

Thank you, Paul for this wonderful cardboard gift!